Letter to Mr Paul McLeay, Minister for the Illawarra RE: Princes Hwy @ Heathcote

The Noisy Minority, who've forgotten the Princes Hwy was there first, and that their shops have an accessible side street parking lot out the back

Recently, the RTA has taken steps to try and implement a Clearway on the Princes Highway at Heathcote. This is the 4th largest road into Australia’s largest city, and should be treated as such – with a Clearway in the peak periods and a reasonable speed limit. Unfortunately, while this is common sense, a very small minority of people in Heathcote are waging a campaign and appealing to the local member – who is also Minister for the Illawarra – and demanding he stop the RTA from making this road a little less miserable.

If you agree with the content of the email below, please feel free to (re)use it and email the Minister to voice your anger and frustration at the way a vocal minority are making life painful for the majority. The road was there first. It is a major road. If isn’t a suburban back street or a little road out the front of the corner store. It should be treated as such, and the Minister needs to be reminded there are a lot more votes in his marginal seat in the northern Illawarra than there are in Heathcote. You can email the Minister at

Dear Minister,

As one of the tens of thousands of motorists who travel along one of the four major roads into Sydney each day, I wanted to join what is surely a chorus of frustration and disgust at how a very small and noisy minority of people in Heathcote are costing ordinary, working people of the Illawarra millions and millions of dollars each year.

Aside from the tremendous waste of time the current Princes Hwy arrangements cost the thousands and thousands of South Coast residents who have to use that road each day, there are also significant costs in both economic and environmental terms as thousands of cars at a time sit idling and burning fuel.

I implore you to make whatever representations you can to the RTA to see Clearways implemented and a more appropriate speed limit reapplied to the Princes Hwy at Heathcote.

This road is the fourth most important road coming into Australia’s largest City after the M5, M4 and F7/M2. It isn’t a sleepy backstreet or hamlet where people should expect the right to park right out the front of the corner store as they duck in and get the morning paper. It isn’t a quiet neighbourhood where pedestrians can jay-walk against the lights and everything will be fine. The Princes Hwy is also not a new road: it was there before all of residents and shopkeepers in Heathcote.

The Princes Hwy is a major road, that connects a great many of your constituents to their work, to their airport, to their state. By my estimation, if someone drives that road each day for work, the current arrangements (a 10 minute delay each way, 5 days a week) are costing them over 80 hours per year – more than 2 weeks of work time! This is a direct cost that the current arrangements are imposing on every one of the Illawarra’s thousands of commuters (and voters).

The other major arterials leading into Sydney have speed limits that reflect the road’s importance: 50kph should be reserved for suburban streets, not major national roads. There are many, many less important and heavily used roads in our state that have clearways. Sure, these clearways can be an inconvenience, but they serve and important purpose on any important and congested road – something that Princes Hwy surely is.

The citizens of the Southern Highlands, the Western Suburbs, the Hunter, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains are treated much much better than the people of the Illawarra: please represent the reasonable interests and needs of your constituents by helping to push through the Clearway and push up the speed limit on this road, so that your constituents don’t keep feeling like 2nd class citizens.

Yours Sincerely,

Geoff McQueen

6 thoughts on “Letter to Mr Paul McLeay, Minister for the Illawarra RE: Princes Hwy @ Heathcote

  1. Dear Minister,

    The current Princes Hwy traffic arrangements at Heathcote, in relation to speed limit and lack of a clearway during peak traffic, impose unnecessary high costs on the thousands of voting commuters who must use that road each day.

    This major road is the fourth most important road entering Sydney after the M5, M4 and F7/M2. It connects a large numbers of your constituents to their work, their airport and their state. The other major roads leading into Sydney have speed limits that reflect their importance. 50kph should be reserved for suburban streets, not major national roads. There are many less important and more heavily used roads in NSW that have clearways and higher speed limits.

    At an estimated 10 minute delay each way each day, the time cost alone to a motorist driving that road for 5 days a week is over 80 hours per year – over 2 working weeks per motorist! Thousands of cars a day sit idling and burning fuel. This is bad for productivity, bad for cost of living, bad for work-life balance, bad for small business, and bad for the environment.

    Please represent the fair and reasonable best interests of your electorate as a whole by showing leadership on this issue. This road needs a clearway and a more appropriate speed limit.

    Kind regards,

  2. Thanks for posting that Brendan; I hope you’ve also emailed it since I don’t reckon the Minister’s people pay much attention to this Blog.

    If you emailed it in, do you mind updating the comments with any reply you get back?

  3. Pingback: Minister McLeay screws his Illawarra constituents - looking out from down under

  4. Dear Geoff,

    The following letter went to Keneally, Borger, McLeay, Barry O’Farrell, Sylvia Hale, Stateline, the St George Leader (and online), Daily Telegraph, SMH, and the Ill Merc, ( online as well) with the same heading.

    “So an unelected person who works for a radio station was able to not only delay, but help remove, through his influence on the current Labor Government, the clearway options for the Heathcote bottleneck. (St George Leader 3 August)

    So much for the thousands of south coast commuters, families and tourists, to be dismissed, on the wishes of a few.

    Never have so few done so much to disrupt so many.

    Just goes to show the influence that a disc jockey, to put it kindly, has on the current NSW Labor Government. There will be several thousand south coast commuters who will be not voting for Labor in the coming elections.

    While some people champion the pontificator for his influence, it’s pleasing to see they agree that this unelected person was able to influence a current elected State Government. Now what would people say if you or I tried it? Isn’t there a name for the way it’s done?”

    Alan Bond

    • Alan, it makes no sense for Labor to pander to Jones; his audience is the blue rinse set who weren’t going to vote Labor to save themselves. Instead, McLeay has shown a complete lack of leadership and courage and has dodged an important decision that could have raised his respect in the electorate. Now it is clear what the next step is: Update your resume, McLeay!

  5. Reply to Kate Egan, “Speed Limit Condemned” Mercury Sept 1st 2010
    The shops at Heathcote were there long before a group of selfish car drivers spewing carbon monoxide poison demanded their right to travel unabated to their destinations.
    Kate says ”the power of the majority opinion must prevail”. Kate did you ever consider that you and your selfish driver friends might just “not be the majority?
    Kate further says, “The politicians who installed it (the 50 KPH speed limit) should be condemned for their contemptuous attitude to the public”. Well Kate, it’s the job of the local government member to look after the jobs and safety of their constituents. Heathcote station is on the other side of the highway and safety IS a major safety concern.
    Kate Egan then goes on to say ”If you wish to register your support for this(making the highway at Heathcote a clearway) write to your local member”. What the same politicians that Kate just said should be condemned for their contemptuous attitude?
    Poor Kate, you must hate the 40 KPH limit at school time because it slows you on your pious mission.
    If you are so concerned Kate why don’t you get the train and use public transport and do the right thing by the entire community and lower greenhouse gasses.
    Kate, just because you are selfish and drive a car that spews poisons into the air, does that give you the right to demand?

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